As DC's Zero Month event chronicles the early days of the New 52 heroes, Green Arrow is sticking with the story readers know best — and the one that will appear in the new Green Arrow TV show.
Instead of retelling the "island" origin of Green Arrow, September's #0 issue will focus on a brand new peek at his pre-Arrow past, detailing what happened before millionaire Oliver Queen ended up on the island.
In a weird switch by DC, writer Judd Winick will be writing Green Arrow #0 as a fill-in for regular writer Ann Nocenti, while she will be taking over Catwoman from him beginning in September. Series artist Freddie Williams II will draw Green Arrow #0.
But as Winick told Newsarama earlier this month, he's shuffling his schedule around to write and draw a new graphic novel for kids. So this issue fits alongside his current DC gig as writer on Batwing.
While this is the first time Winick has written the younger, New 52 version of Oliver Queen, he's a veteran at telling Green Arrow stories, having served as writer on the series for several years before the relaunch. He's also getting the chance to show the first meeting between Ollie and a young Roy Harper.
Newsarama talked to the writer to find out more about his approach and whether he's taking the new TV series into account as he formulates this early story of Oliver Queen.
Newsarama: Judd, it's good to see you back writing a Green Arrow story. Was that the attraction to writing the character again? To return to a character you already knew so well?
Judd Winick: Yeah, I was on Green Arrow for about five years. So the opportunity to write this one little story was very, very appealing to me. And it turned out to be a lot of fun.
Nrama: But according to solicitations — and our recent interview with Ann Nocenti — you're not continuing on the series with October's #13. So you're just doing this one story?
Winick: This is just a one-issue story looking back at something important in Ollie's history.
Nrama: You're certainly familiar with the approach for the Zero Month, since you're also writing Batwing #0. What will we see in this Green Arrow issue?
Winick: Yeah, just like all the Zero issues, we're all trying to sort of show a gap in the existing origin, a peek at a catalyst moment. And that's what this is in Green Arrow #0.
Nrama: Does the story take place before he's Green Arrow?
Winick: It does. He's not Green Arrow yet. He's still young, rich Oliver Queen. And he's unaware of what he wants to do with his life at this point. He's rich, he's spoiled and he likes to have a good time. And he fights with his father a lot.
And this story is basically 12 hours that changed his life.
Nrama: The solicitations mention Roy Harper, another character with which you're pretty familiar.
Winick: Yeah, Roy's in there, but I don't want people to think he plays a huge part in the story. Roy sort of comes in at the end and we see briefly how they meet and how they come together.
It's more of a story about Ollie's worst qualities, and how they make something happen. And this sets the stage for how his life is going to change.
Nrama: Is the New 52 origin of Green Arrow still attached to him being stranded on an island?
Winick: Yes, but the event you'll see in Green Arrow #0 is what puts him on that island. The origin has stayed the same since before the New 52, that he wound up on an island by himself. And that's where he basically develops the use of the bow, and learns other things about himself. And of course, that's also the premise for the television series coming up.
Nrama: Did the TV show inform what you're writing?
Winick: No, it didn't. But the origins are very much the same. The basic tenets are there. Oliver Queen landing on that island by himself and having to fend for himself and, most importantly, using the bow remains the same. That's when his life changes.
But Green Arrow #0 is the story of what puts him on the island.
Nrama: How different was it for you to write a younger Oliver Queen?
Winick: It was kind of exciting. It was something I didn't get to tap into when I wrote it. I already had the grumpy, aged hero. He had shades of this obnoxiousness. That's what I always liked about Ollie was that he was a little bit of a hypocrite, and I dug that. Some of the readers got it and some of them didn't. I hate the expression limousine liberal, but Ollie really was. He's a very wealthy man who liked to help the little guy, but also liked to have nice things and to shoot arrows at bad guys.
So it was fun to do this brief glimpse at him when he was younger. And also to work with Freddie Williams. The issue looks terrific. He's a great storyteller. He really knows what he's doing, and he knows how to add things. I just got some pages and one thing that struck me is that he does great acting. Plus it's very action-packed, and he nailed that.
Nrama: So it's got action even though it's from his pre-Green Arrow years?
Winick: Oh yeah. It's got a lot of action, and plenty of tension. I think it turned out being a nice one-shot story for me to write to just kind of dip my toe in that world for an issue.